Zest Labs Joins the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology

Company Continues to Invest in Collaboration with Growers to Solve Industry Challenges

San Jose, Calif. – January 3, 2018 Zest Labs™, a subsidiary of Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (“Ecoark”) (OTCQX: ZEST), today announced that it has become a member of the Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT) in Salinas, Calif., operated by Western Growers.

The WGCIT was created to help identify priorities in the agriculture industry, discover technologies to address those priorities, set up testing, facilitate industry feedback and communicate progress to fresh produce farmers in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

“The goal of the Center of Innovation and Technology is to help identify and accelerate innovative technology solutions that will benefit growers and handlers and their customers,” said Hank Giclas, Western Growers’ Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science and Technology. “We are excited to welcome Zest Labs to the WGCIT and look forward to the value the company will bring to the Center and Western Growers members, as well as providing our insights to Zest Labs.”

Zest Labs’ Zest Fresh™ solution is the only freshness management solution proven to significantly improve freshness consistency for consumers and reduce waste for retailers by leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to autonomously track and report in real time on the freshness of products from harvest to retail.

Zest Labs is at the forefront of modernizing the fresh food supply chain through real-time monitoring at the pallet level, and is committed to driving industry innovation. Of note, Zest Labs recently announced integrated blockchain support at no additional cost or labor for growers and shippers using Zest Fresh, as well as launching its Produce Advisory Board to gather insight and perspective from the produce grower community.

By joining the WGCIT, Zest Labs will be able to collaborate with other members and gain input from growers on the industry problems they’re facing. In turn, Zest Labs can support growers and fresh produce farmers in understanding and implementing technology solutions that directly address their challenges.

“The agriculture industry is facing a multitude of challenges, but only through collective efforts will we be able to solve them,” said Peter Mehring, CEO of Zest Labs. “The Zest Labs team is looking forward to joining the WGCIT, expanding our footprint with growers across California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, and sharing our knowledge of the fresh food supply chain.”

About Zest Labs Zest Labs, a subsidiary of Ecoark Holdings, Inc., provides a growing suite of freshness management solutions that substantially improve quality consistency and drive sustainability for a wide range of clients. Zest Labs provides solutions to modernize the existing food distribution and delivery system by significantly increasing efficiency through continuous condition monitoring and real-time prescriptive analytics.

To learn more about Zest Labs, please click here. To watch a video about Zest Fresh, please click here.

About Ecoark Holdings Inc.

Founded in 2011, Ecoark is an AgTech company modernizing the post-harvest fresh food supply chain for a wide range of organizations including growers, distributors and retailers. The company’s Zest Fresh™ solution, a breakthrough approach to quality management of post-harvest fresh food, is specifically designed to help substantially reduce the $161 billion amount of food loss the U.S. experiences each year. Through item-level monitoring and real-time predictive analytics, Zest Fresh enables customers to improve the freshness and quality of produce, realize substantial cost savings and reduce food waste. To learn more about Zest Fresh click here.

Forward Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning the business and possible or assumed future results of operations of Zest Labs; and statements concerning the ability of Zest Labs’ technology to improve delivered quality consistency, significantly reduce perishable food waste, drive sustainability, and increase efficiency in the industry. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements for many reasons including: access to growth capital on favorable terms; adverse economic changes affecting markets we serve; competition in our markets and industry segments; our timing and the profitability of entering new markets; greater than expected costs, customer acceptance of our products or difficulties related to our integration of the businesses we may acquire; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in our public announcements and SEC filings. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, they relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made, and our future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements may not meet these expectations. We do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

Contact

Investor Relations:
John Mills
ICR
646-277-1254
John.Mills@icrinc.com

Public Relations:
Keith Watson
fama PR
617-986-5001
ecoark@famapr.com

Blockchain + IoT: Creating True Transparency Within The Food Supply Chain

Today’s food supply chain landscape is becoming increasingly dynamic. Non-traditional retailers like Amazon are disrupting the grocery business. Consumers are increasingly interested and invested in where their food comes from. Manufacturers are as much responsible for the quality of food as growers are. But one thing about the fresh food supply chain has remained consistent: mistakes in the handling or distribution of food — resulting in recalls or foodborne illness outbreaks — have the potential to irreparably damage brand reputation and the bottom line.

Can new technologies help?

To date, there has been limited technological innovation with the potential to transform how retailers and manufacturers deal with recalls or outbreaks. For the most part, dealing with foodborne illnesses and safety recalls has simply been reactive. When an issue occurs, you try to deal with it as best as you can, but the costs — including the time and resources spent trying to figure out where the outbreak or mishandling stemmed from, the collateral damage (i.e. food waste) of recalling products that aren’t contaminated and the brand/customer loyalty fallout that often follows — can batter your bottom line.

The Transparency Challenge

The CDC estimates that 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States. And, according to the USDA, nearly 60 million pounds of food was recalled in 2016 alone. That’s a lot. But the history of food, in addition to the increase in food safety and quality regulations, gives us an indication of how we got to this point.

Consumers’ eating habits have drastically changed throughout the years, and with those habits brings new consumer demands and expectations. Traditionally, fresh food was grown, harvested and eaten all in a highly local environment. Now, thanks to consumer demands for having year-round availability of their favorite foods — particularly produce — our food supply chains span thousands of miles, meaning multiple days of handling starting from the growers and suppliers through to the grocery stores.

With this new reality, and the increase in players along the supply chain, transparency has become both incredibly difficult and increasingly important. While there are efforts to move back to a “farm-to-table” mentality, today’s supply chain still includes multiple manufacturing and shipping partners in between the farm and the consumer. The more food changes hands, the greater chance of mishandling, temperature discrepancies and more — all of which increase the risk for foodborne illness outbreaks and major food recalls.

If manufacturers and retailers had the tools to achieve “true transparency” throughout the entire fresh food supply chain, along with access to every link in the chain, everyone involved (including consumers) could have complete visibility into where food has been and if it has been handled and distributed correctly.

What if there was a way to enable food manufacturers and retailers to more quickly and accurately identify the source or sources of contamination? Further, what if there was the potential to improve delivered freshness and more easily identify problems before a product reached the consumer?

Achieving True Transparency with Blockchain and IoT

A foodborne illness outbreak or recall can be a manufacturer’s or retailer’s worst nightmare. But implementing a proactive solution for managing food safety — instead of relying on reactive responses — is easier than most would think, thanks to technology that exists today.

The first step in achieving true transparency is being able to gather the right data about the product at the pallet level. Studies have shown that the pallet is where variation occurs, not at the lot or trailer level. And, what’s important is monitoring the condition of the product, not the components of the supply chain such as the temperature of the pre-cooler or trailer.

We need to start in the field with the product at harvest, and then track its temperature and time throughout the supply chain. Did the broccoli sit out in the sun for multiple hours at the pack house, causing the chances of pathogen growth to increase? Was the cut/bagged lettuce washed and tested? We need to know its processing. Finally, we need to know the logistics at the distribution center and where the produce was shipped to. Implementing IoT sensors at the pallet level, and automatically collecting its data along every step of the supply chain from harvest or production through to the retailer is critical.

The second step for true transparency then becomes: what do manufacturers and retailers do with that data? Of course, there is immense value in collecting quality-focused data on its own, but blockchain is emerging as an important enabling technology to take IoT data and make it completely transparent, delivering security and trust across the supply chain. Blockchain takes the concept of a transaction ledger and brings it into the digital age through a continuous list of records (otherwise known as blocks) linked together and secured using cryptography. From a food quality and safety perspective, blockchain makes it easier to track a product’s journey through the supply chain and log data points about key safety and quality information at every stage.

Blockchain can enable us to be proactively notified of non-compliant product through smart contracts, and include pointers to relevant data about each pallet of product. Through the combination of blockchain and the data collected from IoT sensors, growers, distributors and retailers will be able to automate decisions through smart contracts to address food safety issues, identify and implement solutions for recurring problems, and — in the case of foodborne illnesses or recalls — proactively identify and remove products that are at elevated risk of contamination based on handling history. This means that manufacturers and retailers have the potential to eliminate products at risk before they even reach the consumer, reducing the issues that come from issuing a recall — including cost, consumer safety, damaged brand reputations and decreased customer loyalty.

While there isn’t a silver bullet when it comes to eliminating foodborne illnesses or contamination recalls, by implementing a solution using IoT and blockchain technologies in tandem, growers, processors and retailers have the potential to more efficiently track produce handling and quality, and make educated, proactive decisions about what food should (and shouldn’t) make it into consumers’ homes.

True transparency is the key to not only becoming a trusted partner in today’s dynamic food supply chain industry, but also meeting increasingly high consumer demands. The right application of IoT and blockchain can transform the supply chain, enabling manufacturers and retailers to have a shot at succeeding at both.

Ecoark Holdings Inc. Announces OTCQX Stock Symbol Change to ZEST

ROGERS, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (“Ecoark”) (OTCQX: EARK), to be renamed Zest Technologies, Inc., an AgTech company, today announced that FINRA has allowed a change in the Company’s stock symbol trading on the OTC Markets. Effective tomorrow, November 30, 2017, the Company’s common shares will commence trading on the OTC Markets under the symbol “ZEST” (OTCQX: ZEST). Outstanding stock certificates will not be affected by the symbol change and will not need to be exchanged. All stock trading, filings and market-related information will be reported under the new stock symbol.

The Company will seek approval to formally change its name from Ecoark Holdings, Inc. to Zest Technologies, Inc. at the next annual shareholder meeting in the first half of 2018.

“Our new trading symbol is a step in the previously announced new corporate strategy of repositioning the Company from Ecoark, a diversified holding company, to Zest Technologies, Inc., an AgTech company focused solely on its Zest Labs asset,” stated Randy May, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This change is just one of many announcements we will be making as we continue on our mission of modernizing the fresh food supply chain.”

About Ecoark Holdings Inc. and Zest Labs

Ecoark is an AgTech company modernizing the post-harvest fresh food supply chain for a wide range of organizations including growers, distributors and retailers. The company’s Zest Fresh™ solution, a breakthrough approach to quality management of post-harvest fresh food, is specifically designed to help substantially reduce the $161 billion amount of food loss the U.S. experiences each year. Through item-level monitoring and real-time predictive analytics, Zest Fresh enables customers to improve the freshness and quality of produce, realize substantial cost savings and reduce food waste. To learn more about Zest Fresh click here.

Forward Looking Statement

This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning business and possible or assumed future results of operations of Ecoark Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries; and statements concerning the ability of Zest Labs’ technology to improve delivered quality consistency, significantly reduce perishable food waste, drive sustainability, and increase efficiency in the industry. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements for many reasons including: access to growth capital on favorable terms; adverse economic changes affecting markets we serve; competition in our markets and industry segments; our timing and the profitability of entering new markets; greater than expected costs, customer acceptance of our products or difficulties related to our integration of the businesses we may acquire; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in our public announcements and SEC filings. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, they relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made, and our future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements may not meet these expectations. We do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

Contacts

Investor Relations:
ICR, Inc.
John Mills, 646-277-1254
Managing Partner
John.Mills@icrinc.com
or
Public Relations:
fama PR
Keith Watson, 617-986-5001
ecoark@famapr.com

Steve Nelson of Dillard’s Inc., UCA (Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting)

By Arkansas Business Staff on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017  (“Ecoark”) (OTCQX: EARK)-

Hanging on the wall of Steve Nelson’s home office in Little Rock is the associate degree in accounting his father earned in 1952.

Nelson said his father, Arnie, always encouraged him to enter the accounting field and become a CPA.

But, curiously, Nelson, 59, doesn’t remember his father ever talking about having the degree or working as an accountant. He first learned about it when he discovered the degree in a chest in his father’s home after he died in 2015. “If I knew about it, I don’t remember it.”

Nelson did follow his father’s advice and worked in various accounting positions in central Arkansas for 35 years, including 27 as vice president and controller for Dillard’s Inc.

He retired in 2015 and now teaches in the Accounting Department at the University of Central Arkansas.

“I’ve lived a charmed life,” he said, adding that he enjoys teaching and providing the next generation of accountants with valuable lessons that he learned, often the hard way.

“I teach a lot of ethics in the leadership class, and I tell them you will be confronted with things that may not be right. And the advice I always give the young ones is be true to yourself,” he said.

Born in Nebraska, Nelson and his family moved to Murfreesboro when he was a boy. His father was manager of a plant there.

In high school he took a bookkeeping class and loved it. “My father said, ‘You can be a CPA and do well,’” he recalled. His father also taught him and his brother the importance of a good work ethic.

Although he entered the University of Arkansas with the idea of studying business, Nelson fell in love with accounting when he took a principles of accounting class taught by Nolan Williams, who himself had a distinguished career as an accountant before entering teaching.

“Taking that class really sealed the deal because [Williams] would tell stories on how he would use this accounting in real situations. … He really made accounting fun. The hook was set after that, and that is what I try to do today.”

Another teacher, James Modisette, also had a major impact on his early career. “He motivated me to study hard and take the CPA right away,” Nelson said. “He said, ‘You are not going to be more prepared to take the CPA exam than you are right now.’”

Nelson passed on his first try.

After graduation, Nelson took a job as an audit associate with Ernst & Whinney in Little Rock. “Since we had a small office, I served a variety of clients. However, I mostly audited financial institutions and Dillard’s Department Stores.”

Tiring of the travel, and following the birth of his first child, Nelson took a job as vice president and controller with First Federal of Arkansas. In 1986 he converted First Federal from a mutual ownership form to a stock form and executed an initial public offering of stock. “This was an exciting time for me as I learned a new set of rules associated with SEC reporting.”

It was also in 1986 that he was named controller of First American Bank, which later changed its name to One Bank. He worked there for 18 months before being hired as controller at Dillard’s, at the age of 30. “I got to see it grow, and I grew along with it,” he said.

Nelson, who earned an MBA from the University of Texas in 2007, has served on a number of boards and commissions over the years. He is currently on the board of directors and chair of the audit committee of Ecoark Holdings Inc.

Following the Golden Rule was his management style, he said, adding that the best advice he can give to students is to be true to themselves.

“I try to impress upon them the importance of the accounting system, paying your taxes and being responsible.”

In Preparation for Nasdaq Uplisting, Ecoark Holdings Appoints Jay Puchir CEO and Adds Former Walmart Treasurer Charles Rateliff as CFO

Restructuring to Streamline Parent Company and Focus Key Subsidiaries on Profitability

Founder Randy May to Remain Chairman of the Board

 Rogers, AR – March 29, 2017Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (“Ecoark” or “Ecoark Holdings”) (OTCQX: EARK) today announced several key organizational changes to streamline parent company operations and focus key subsidiaries on attaining profitability as the company prepares to complete its application for uplisting on the Nasdaq Capital Market. As part of the restructure, the Ecoark board of directors has unanimously voted to appoint Jay Puchir CEO of Ecoark Holdings.  Ecoark Founder Randy May will remain Chairman of the Board after nominating Jay Puchir to assume the CEO role. The company also elected former Walmart Treasurer Charles Rateliff CFO and Treasurer of Ecoark Holdings.  The company’s CFO position has remained vacant since former CFO Yash Puri resigned in January 2017.

“Over the past 12 months, as a post-merger public company, we’ve successfully focused on fundraising and growth through acquisition. As we prepare for this critical next stage of the company and uplisting to Nasdaq, we’re proud to promote Jay as our new CEO to develop and execute our strategic growth plan and ensure we deliver maximum shareholder value,” commented Randy May, former CEO of Ecoark Holdings. “During his time as director of finance, secretary, and treasurer, Jay has been invaluable in helping Ecoark and our subsidiaries begin to adopt industry best practices. I’m looking forward to continuing to work closely with him as we enter this exciting next phase of the company’s maturation.”

Key Organizational Changes

In addition to appointing Jay Puchir CEO and Charles Rateliff CFO, Ecoark Holdings also announced two additional executive changes:

  • COO Roshan Weerasinghe was appointed as CEO, Pioneer Products, an Ecoark subsidiary, to focus full time on business development and not corporate operations; and
  • SVP of Business Development Gregg Hames will transition to his new role as SVP of Implementation, Zest Labs, an Ecoark subsidiary, moving from his role at Ecoark.

“Ecoark has rapidly and successfully transitioned from the development stage to a highly valuable collection of revenue-producing subsidiaries that solve major business challenges. We’re currently focused on improving our fundamentals, increasing sales through growth and acquisitions, and attaining profitability to maximize shareholder value,” said Puchir. “The fact that Charles is coming out of retirement to become CFO demonstrates his confidence in the company and the huge market opportunity in front of us.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to lead this highly dynamic organization with disruptive technologies through one of the most exciting processes in business.”

Jay Puchir has held executive roles at several companies prior to joining Ecoark Holdings. Most recently, he led Ecoark’s financial planning and analysis, treasury and secretary functions, and worked with the Corporate Controller with financial reporting. Jay began his career as an auditor and consultant with one of the Big 4 accounting firms, ultimately earning the position of Senior Manager. He then held the role of the Director of Finance/Controller at a state college, and then Associate Chief Financial Officer within a Fortune 100 healthcare organization. A licensed Certified Public Accountant, Jay received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University.

Charles Rateliff retired in 2005 from Walmart Stores as a Senior Vice President after a 25-year career. Following his retirement, he served as an independent consultant to several private investment groups. After receiving an MBA from the University of Arkansas, he was hired as an internal auditor for Walmart and within five years was promoted to Assistant Treasurer and later on, Treasurer. Over the course of his career at Walmart, Charles worked across several departments including compliance, risk management, profit sharing and associate benefits.  Charles has been an independent member of the Ecoark Board of Directors since May 2016.

In addition to the aforementioned executive changes, the Board voted to increase the number of Directors from seven to nine and will immediately begin searching for two additional independent Directors to fill the vacancies.

About Ecoark Holdings Inc.

Founded in 2011, Ecoark Holdings, Inc. is a growth-oriented company based in the retail and logistics hub of Northwest Arkansas. Ecoark’s portfolio of technology solutions increase operational visibility and improve organizational transparency for a wide range of corporate clients.

Ecoark’s technologies fight waste in Operations, Logistics and Supply Chains across the evolving global economy. The company’s portfolio of companies and technologies work to integrate people, processes and data in order to overcome ingrained operational hurdles and create new revenue streams.

Ecoark’s vision is to expose the cycles of waste that reduce efficiency and cost effectiveness across the business landscape. Its strategically acquired subsidiaries have anticipated and responded to key economic factors impacting every business today. Ecoark addresses these vital economic factors through four active subsidiaries, Zest Labs, Eco3d, Pioneer Products, and Magnolia Solar. For more information, please visit www.ecoarkusa.com.

Forward Looking Statement

This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning our business and possible or assumed future results of operations. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements for many reasons including: our ability to continue as a going concern; adverse economic changes affecting markets we serve; competition in our markets and industry segments; our timing and the profitability of entering new markets; greater than expected costs, customer acceptance of our products or difficulties related to our integration of the businesses we may acquire; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in our public announcements and SEC filings. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, they relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made, and our future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements may not meet these expectations. We do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.